The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

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Behind the scenes of small businesses

Faith Abernathy
The exterior of Klaystation, your go-to location for to-the-point creativity. Klaystation offers a multitude of classes and is open all week for simple day activities.

Small businesses are popping up around every corner, from young entrepreneurs entering the field as early as high school to those with years of experience. Behind every small business lies the captivating narrative of late nights, strategic decisions and the indomitable spirit of its owner. Whether that owner is a student following their dreams, a family business or a high school teacher looking for extra income, every owner puts time and dedication into every aspect of their business.

Starting a small business requires dedication, strategic planning, a lot of time and a willingness to learn and adapt. The rewards, however, are numerous— ranging from the satisfaction of pursuing your passion to the potential for financial independence.

Klaystation, a family-owned art studio, is a perfect example. Founded in 2008 and passed along to an excited and passionate family in 2016, they have survived many ups and downs, learning to adapt to their ever-changing customers and expanding their business. 

Co-owner Fred Mergenthaler has learned many lessons along the way, including the true purpose of owning a small business. 

“I’ve learned a lot from paying taxes to creating an area where people feel comfortable and confident,” Mergenthaler said. “It’s not about [the physical work], it’s about [the connections and conversations you have].”

I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and then once I saw other people starting theirs, I figured I should begin looking more into it.

— Spencer

Having a small business is not a goal people can only achieve later in life. Generation Z is one of the most entrepreneurial generations; around 67 percent of young adults have already expressed the intention of beginning, if not already owning, a small business. Wakefield High School is home to many entrepreneurs, with businesses ranging from apparel to personal bakeries. Junior and student-athlete Landon Spencer discusses how she first decided to begin her clothing business and her experience balancing school, track and her business. 

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and then once I saw other people starting theirs, I figured I should begin looking more into it,” Spencer said. “It can be hard because I have to find time to take photos and advertise, but I’m doing what I like.”

Inspiration to start a small business can strike at any moment and put people on a path to achieving their dreams. Sometimes, though, the business acts as a stepping stone and time to learn and grow as a person. 

Owner of Burgess Bakery, senior Roz Burgess, discusses why he began his business and where he sees it taking him in the fast-approaching future. 

“I see Burgess Bakery as a baby step to my future because I want to go beyond [it] – even though it’s been a very big baby step,” Burgess said. “Right now, I am going to try to venture off and have something that meets my means, whether it be marketing or sales, that will help me [reach my financial goals] as efficiently as possible.”

Anyone can start a small business and do so for a multitude of reasons. Owning a business may be a second job for some individuals, including Wakefield’s Drafting I teacher Adam Mills, who is the owner of North State Pools.

“I’ve always been a teacher, so having the summers off naturally led to getting into the pool business,” Mills said. “I originally started up in N.Y., which was very seasonal. I moved down here thinking it would still be seasonal, but it turns out it is more of a year-round operation, and business has been very good to us here.”

Small businesses are an opportunity everyone should explore as they can give people a sense of purpose, extra income and a chance to delve deeper into their passions. 

“I would encourage everybody to give it a shot, even if it’s a small operation. It’s an experience everybody should have,” Mills said.

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